The wealth of Earth Observation data for which ESA is responsible has led to its becoming a founder, and major player, in the International Charter on Space and Natural Disasters. The Charter is a joint effort between member space agencies to place their satellite resources at the disposal of rescue authorities in the event of disasters of both human or natural origin.
An operator is on 24-hour call at ESRIN ready to deal with requests for assistance from civil protection authorities. On receiving a request, they check the identity of the caller and verify that the information needed to respond to the emergency is specified correctly.
This information is then passed by the operator to an on-call officer who analyses the request and the scope of the disaster with the user to establish how to use the satellites that can provide data to the charter to their best abilities. The final step is to prepare an acquisition and processing plan using the available space resources.
Data acquisition and delivery takes place on an emergency basis, and a project manager, qualified in data ordering, handling and application, assists the user throughout the process.